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More Republicans Favor Path to Citizenship Than Wall

Story Highlights

  • 76% of Republicans favor path to citizenship; 62% building a wall
  • Two-thirds in U.S. oppose deporting illegal immigrants, building a wall
  • 84% in U.S. favor of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Two-thirds of Americans oppose immigration plans advocated by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump -- building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. In contrast, 84% favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S., a plan backed by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Notably, significantly more Republicans favor a path to citizenship than support building a border wall or deporting illegal immigrants.

Opinions of Immigration Proposals
U.S. adults Democrats Independents Republicans
% % % %
Allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time
Favor 84 91 85 76
Oppose 15 8 14 24
Building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border
Favor 33 12 33 62
Oppose 66 88 66 38
Deporting all immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally back to their home country
Favor 32 16 33 50
Oppose 66 83 65 48
June 7-July 1 Gallup poll

Republicans are divided on deporting all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally back to their home country, a proposal advanced by Trump during the primary season. Since then, he appears to have softened that stance.

Republicans are more likely to favor the border wall, but their 62% support for it stands in sharp contrast to Democrats' 88% opposition to the same proposal.

At least three in four Republicans (76%), independents (85%) and Democrats (91%) favor a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who meet certain requirements over a period of time.

The results are based on Gallup's June 7-July 1 Minority Rights and Relations poll, a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults including large oversamples of blacks and Hispanics. The sample is weighted to be representative of U.S. adults nationally.

Non-Hispanic Whites Show Greater Support for Deportation, Wall

Given white Americans' GOP leanings, it is not surprising that non-Hispanic whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to support deporting illegal immigrants and building a border wall. Still, most whites oppose these proposals -- 59% oppose the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and 62% oppose deporting all illegal immigrants.

Fewer than one in five blacks and Hispanics favor the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and fewer than one in four favor deporting illegal immigrants.

Blacks (84%) and whites (82%) show similar strong support for a path to citizenship, with Hispanics even higher, at 92%.

Opinions of Immigration Proposals, by Race and Ethnicity
U.S. adults Non-Hispanic whites Non-Hispanic blacks Hispanics
% % % %
Allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally the chance to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time
Favor 84 82 84 92
Oppose 15 17 14 8
Building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border
Favor 33 41 18 16
Oppose 66 59 82 82
Deporting all immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally back to their home country
Favor 32 36 23 21
Oppose 66 62 76 78
June 7-July 1 Gallup poll

Hillary Clinton Given Edge on Immigration Issue

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the greater support for a path to citizenship than deportation or building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans are more likely to say Hillary Clinton's immigration policies and proposals, rather than Trump's, come closer to their own. But the margin in favor of Clinton's ideas on immigration, 53% to 37%, is not as large as one might expect given the differences in support for her key immigration proposals versus Trump's.

That may reflect the realities of partisanship. Republicans widely say Trump's proposals on immigration are closer to their own, by 76% to 15%. Republicans may have a hard time saying they view Clinton as better than their own party's nominee on any issue, given their strong likelihood of voting for Trump in the election. Republicans may also be more comfortable with Trump's broad approach to immigration, even if sizable minorities in the party disagree with some of his specific plans. Still, the 76% of Republicans who say Trump is closer to them on immigration is smaller than the 90% of Democrats who say the same about Clinton.

Candidate Whose Views on Immigration Come Closer to Your Own, by Political Party
U.S. adults Democrats Independents Republicans
% % % %
Clinton 53 90 48 15
Trump 37 6 35 76
June 7-July 1 Gallup poll

Independents are more likely to say Clinton's views on immigration are closer to their own by 48% to 35%.

Non-Hispanic whites are about evenly divided about which candidate comes closer to their own views on immigration, with 47% saying Trump and 43%, Clinton. Trump, whose anti-Mexican rhetoric has raised questions about his ability to attract Hispanic support in the general election, is favored by 17% of Hispanics on immigration, compared with 73% who choose Clinton. That is actually a lower level of support for Clinton than among blacks, who favor her over Trump on the immigration issue by 83% to 9%, likely because of blacks' overwhelming support for the Democratic Party.

Candidate Whose Views on Immigration Come Closer to Your Own, by Race and Ethnicity
U.S. adults Non-Hispanic whites Non-Hispanic blacks Hispanics
% % % %
Clinton 53 43 83 73
Trump 37 47 9 17
June 7-July 1 Gallup poll

Implications

Immigration has been a major focus of the 2016 campaign, arguably because of the attention Trump has devoted to the issue and the controversy generated by his comments on the matter. Americans as a whole oppose his oft-repeated proposal of building a large wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to deter potential illegal immigrants from entering the country. And though a majority of Republicans favor this proposal, the 62% who do so is much smaller than the 76% who favor a path to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, a key aspect of Clinton's immigration policy.

Should Trump be elected president, some may conclude his immigration proposals played a key part in that win. However, if Trump does prevail, it appears his victory would come in spite of his stance on immigration, not because of it.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 7-July 1, 2016, with a sample of 3,270 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who had previously been interviewed in the Gallup Daily tracking poll and agreed to be re-interviewed for a later study. The sample is weighted to be representative of U.S. adults.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 1,320 non-Hispanic whites, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 912 non-Hispanic blacks, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 906 Hispanics, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level (271 out of the 906 interviews with Hispanics were conducted in Spanish).

All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works. ​


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